With each passing day, it looks more as if the 49ers won’t have Deebo Samuel in 2022, but perhaps they’ll look to Treylon Burks as an NFL Draft replacement.
The San Francisco 49ers and All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel have put forward arguably the best reality-TV show of the offseason, coming to an impasse about contract extensions, use on the field and “not wanting to be together anymore.”
Well, at least from Samuel’s perspective. That’s the reported story, at least.
Samuel has requested a trade. The smoke behind that rumor is too big to deny, yet the Niners are either going to retain him with the hope of working something out or trade him away to the highest possible bidder, which would surely command a hefty return package in advance of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Speaking of the draft, it’ll likely be that avenue in which San Francisco hopes to find some sort of Samuel replacement, should the team ultimately decide parting ways is the best option.
OK, so finding a Samuel “clone” isn’t exactly an exact science. Each player is different in his own way despite all the player comps you read on scouting reports left and right.
However, if head coach Kyle Shanahan is forced to bid farewell to Samuel, he could look to Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks as a would-be replacement.
How Treylon Burks would fit with 49ers if selected in NFL Draft
The “wide back” position Samuel so dominantly defined in 2021 is probably going to create a lot of copycats in the coming years.
That’s where Burks comes in, as Arkansas did its best last year to feed him as much as possible in an otherwise floundering offense.
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
Burks, 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, lined up all over the Razorbacks’ offensive formation, taking handoffs and receiving passes from both boundary and slot roles.
That might help. But NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah touted Burks as more of an A.J. Brown of the Tennessee Titans (there we go with more player comps) than being Samuel-like, saying:
"He’s a mismatch receiver combining size, strength and competitiveness similar to the Titans’ A.J. Brown, but his speed testing at the NFL Scouting Combine did not meet expectations. Arkansas benefitted by putting the ball in his hands from a variety of alignments and there is no reason to believe NFL play-callers won’t benefit from doing the same. The tape is extremely exciting with real NFL skills jumping off the screen, but his potential to become a high-volume, three-level target is a little more cloudy after a relatively disappointing showing at the combine."
Speaking of the combine, Burks ran a 4.55 40-yard time, which isn’t necessarily indicative of his game speed but does speak measures about how he’d compare to Samuel.
Unlike Samuel coming out back in 2019 from South Carolina, Burks would need a lot more refinement if the 49ers were to draft him.
That said, there’s one player Burks tries to emulate on the field.
Treylon Burks models his game after Deebo Samuel
Speaking from the combine last month, Burks noted how he tries to do the things Samuel has done for the Niners during his career, particularly last season:
"I’ve watched a lot of Deebo Samuel. The way that he plays running back, plays inside, plays outside, multiplayer, person, athlete. So I try to mimic my game after him.My physicality, the way that I’m able to be used at multiple positions. I can play outside receiver, inside receiver, running back — it doesn’t matter. That just sets me apart from everyone else."
Perhaps Burks would be a seamless fit, someone who could potentially be available by the time the Niners’ number is called first, No. 61 overall way at the end of Round 2, but certainly if they are ultimately convinced to move Samuel by the start of the draft on April 28.
Still, San Francisco wouldn’t be getting a Samuel clone if it went this route, instead hoping to turn Burks into just as big a household name as its own receiver who now wants to play elsewhere in 2022 and beyond.